SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of the West released today the results of a national survey that suggests mobile technology producers have some hurdles to jump in order to achieve growth in the small business market. While nine out of ten (88%) small business owners use mobile technology, including the applications and programs that run on mobile phones, smart phones and tablets, three out of five (58%) wish there were more mobile technologies relevant for their businesses.
The Mobile Technology Small Business Owners Use...and What They Want
Small business owners who currently utilize mobile technology do so most often for communications – presumably calls, texting, instant messaging and email – (76%), calendars and scheduling (48%) and GPS and navigation (42%). The survey results indicate the mobile tech industry should not expect to see much growth for those tasks – when asked about significant potential for mobile technology use, interest in all three categories dropped.
The same small business owners see the greatest potential for using mobile technology for the categories of marketing, where mentions increased 94 percent; making and receiving payments, which increased by 82 percent; and CRM (customer relationship database), with an increase of 63 percent.
Lack of Useful Applications, Cost and Security Concerns Cited as Barriers
Small business owners surveyed think mobile technology could be made more useful, cost effective and safer for small business purposes. "Few relevant uses for my business" was named the number one barrier to taking advantage of mobile technology, at 33 percent, followed by cost, at 25 percent.
Even though most small business owners surveyed (93%) have never experienced information or data theft as a result of using mobile technology, over half (56%) say concerns about information security have at least somewhat prevented them from implementing it more fully.
Mobile Technology May Hold Key to Efficiency in Small Businesses;
Solutions Wanted for Time-Consuming Financial Tasks
Among small business owners who use mobile technology, two out of three (68%) agree that it has increased efficiency for their businesses, and three out of five (61%) say it serves functions in their businesses that cannot be completed as efficiently through other means.
When asked specifically about the time-consuming tasks that mobile technology could better address, small business owners wished for solutions that could help them with accepting payments from customers (33%), monitoring financial accounts (24%), expense reports (19%) and making payments to suppliers (12%). Other financial tasks cited included invoicing and payroll.
Mobile Technology Viewed as Important for Future Success of Small Business
Small business owners see the value in mobile tech – and overwhelmingly (83%) believe individuals, entrepreneurs and small businesses can benefit from using it. Two-thirds of those surveyed (65%) say it is important to the current success of their business and nearly three-quarters (74%) think it will be important to the future success of their businesses.
Bank of the West's Independent Interviews with Small Business Owners Correlate to National Survey Results
In addition to sponsoring the national survey, "Going Mobile: Small Business Attitudes About Mobile Technology," Bank of the West conducted in-person interviews with small business customers and prospects and asked similar questions.
"As part of our commitment to serving small business owners, we seek to understand the trends and forces that impact their businesses. Our bankers recently sat down with more than 800 small business owners for in-depth, one-on-one conversations about mobile technology – a subject that is having an impact on nearly every aspect of our lives," said Michelle Di Gangi, Small & Mid Enterprise Banking Division Manager, Executive Vice President of Bank of the West. "We learned, and the Harris study supports, that while small business owners are not early adopters of mobile technology – they tend to wait until someone like them has bought it and endorses it – they do see its growing importance in the success of their business. Creating relevant uses that help small businesses systemize customer relationship management, marketing and financial accounting will be critical to the growth of mobile technology in this market."
A copy of National Survey results, including charts and graphs, is available through this link: http://bit.ly/PnUDmz
"Going Mobile: Small Business Owner Attitudes About Mobile Technology" was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Bank of the West between July 10-August 29, 2012, among owners of small businesses (defined as having two or more employees and less than $10 million in annual revenue.) No estimates of theoretical sampling can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About Bank of the West:
Founded in 1874, $62.7 billion-asset Bank of the West (www.bankofthewest.com), Member FDIC and equal housing lender, offers a full range of personal, commercial, wealth management and international banking services. The bank operates more than 700 retail and commercial banking operations in 19 Western and Midwestern states. Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, which has a presence in 80 countries with nearly 200,000 employees.
About Harris Interactive:
Harris Interactive (www.harrisinteractive.com) is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research.
SOURCE Bank of the West